Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and with support by the Government of Sweden, are pleased to inform the general public and the media fraternity in particular, that Rwanda will for the first time be joining the rest of the world to celebrate the World Radio Day.
World Radio Day is a global event that is marked on the 13th of February every year. Following a UNESCO proposal, it was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2012 to coincide with the anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Radio in 1946. This day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of the radio and how it positively impacts on millions of lives every day. It is also a day to celebrate radio as a medium of communication, to improve international cooperation among broadcasters and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression.
Representatives of the Rwanda Governance Office, the Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO, the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, the Rwanda Governance Office, the Rwanda Media Commission, Rwanda Network of Community Media as well as participants from various media institutions.
The theme for the 2017 edition of World Radio Day is Public participation: “Radio is You!”. It is a call for greater participation of audiences and communities in the policy and planning of radio broadcasting. This is meant to encourage radio stations around the world, whether community, private, or public radio stations, to develop the tools they need to enhance their capacity and remain effective, while ensuring they have continued dialogue with the industry, its audience and the public in general. It also aims to promote freedom of expression and cultural diversity.
Radio facilitates public participation, the circulation of new ideas and the sharing of cultural expressions such as music. UNESCO promotes media diversity and the diversity of cultural expressions in Rwanda. Photo courtesy of Ishyo Arts Centre, one of the civil society participants in a UNESCO-run initiative in Rwanda.
Journalists, government representatives, civil society actors, artists and academics in Rwanda will come together for the first time to celebrate World Radio Day on 13th February!
“What is the role of the radio in promoting public participation: challenges and opportunities?” will be the theme of this first year of Rwanda’s participation. During a conference, UNESCO and the Rwanda Media Commission with its partners in Rwanda, the Rwandan National Commission for UNESCO, along with and the Rwanda Community Radio Network, and other media stakeholders will come together to discuss this theme. They will explore the most locally appropriate ways of using the UNESCO Freedom of Expression tool kit, which is now available in Kinyarwanda, to increase public participation.
The theme of public participation will continue during the evening’s activities focusing on the role of the media and in particular the radio, in promoting diverse local cultural contents. Rwanda has been a partner country in a UNESCO programme, “Enhancing fundamental freedoms through the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions”, funded by the Swedish government. Being a Party to the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Rwanda is spearheading efforts to strengthen its cultural industries through adopting a new cultural policy and implementing participatory policy monitoring. The theme of this year’s World Radio Day, “public participation” and the promotion of media diversity are defining elements of this programme.
Radio: a vital forum for public participation
Radio remains the most popular media source in the country – a vital line of communication and cultural participation for those who are illiterate or cannot afford to own a television. In recent years, new radio stations have opened up and have been channels for debate and news, as well as entertainment such as music and even satire.
“We are delighted that Rwanda is participating in World Radio Day for the first time! Fostering dialogue between the different participants from the spheres of journalism and cultural expression during this year’s event will help guide policy in future. Public participation through community, public and private radio is a major forum for some of the most important discussions in Rwandan society. As UNESCO, we will continue to support the country in ensuring that it develops policies to ensure freedom of expression and artistic freedom, which are vital for development” says Karalyn Monteil, the Culture Programme Specialist in UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa